It took two weeks for the replacement light to be brought in. The mess had slightly delayed move-in, but only by a few hours. The university chalked it up to old wiring, and funded the repairs with the help of an anonymous donor. Kalie figured that Arran was just covering his tracks since she hadn't heard about any lawsuits or things of the sort yet.
He hadn't chosen an identical light, though. Rumors circulated fast in college dorms, and Kalie was able to easily pick up on most of them. The most popular opinion was that the donation had been given with the condition that the exterior of the light be lined with mirrored plating, though no one could figure out why. Eccentricity, probably.
More like stupidity.
Kalie stood on the outer edge of the eighth floor's railing, later afternoon chatter echoing all the way up from the ground level. Being a Saturday, there were quite the fair amount of people in Anderson Hall: students visiting friends, watching TV or playing games, some studying in their lounge's couches and chairs. Five floors down, the new mirrored light's surface reflecting sunlight.
Was this what you needed to do so you could move on?
Guesswork wasn't really effective. She could just ask him the next time she saw him, assuming Arran didn't try to brush her off again. She couldn't get discouraged by vague messages. Even if Arran had left the light here only for himself, Kalie could still use it for herself. Not even bothering with her usual jumps, Kalie floated over to the mirrored light's support cable, keeping herself afloat as she wrapped her hands around it.
"This is the last time," she said.
It took more courage than she would have liked, but Kalie finally dropped her levitation, gravity kidnapping her stomach and holding it hostage above her head. She destabilized long enough that her hands burned from the friction, but cleared it quickly enough, laughing as he hair whipped upwards. The light itself approached in a matter of minutes, and Kalie pulled her drop quickly enough so that she didn't pull this light out of its socket, too.
Her feet eased onto the light, slightly warm glass pressing against her heels. Kalie's reflection remained the same as always while she spun in small circles. At some point, her giggles stopped blending in and instead echoed in pure silence, the din of Anderson Hall tapering off. Kallie looked up to the ceiling, noticing several students leaning over the railings of their balconies. Off to the second floor balcony, students had gathered, most of them gaping.
Kalie raised a small hand and waved her fingers.
"No way, no way."
"Someone call 911! There's a girl on the lights."
"That's not a girl, that's the Ghost of Anderson Hall!"
"What are you, stupid?"
Kalie didn't engage the chatter. After this, there wasn't going to be a Ghost of Anderson Hall.
She readjusted herself, lining up with the final pale blue light, and jumped. Several people screamed, and those underneath the mirrored light looked up with confusion. Kalie could recognize someone staring straight through her when she saw it. Not having witnessed her reflection, they had no idea she even existed.
Who cares anymore?
Kalie readied herself, aiming for the same dull couch she always landed on. There was someone sitting on one side, but intangibility was useful for moments like these. She felt bad for ruining everyone's weekend, but she had spent years helping them out. A little bit of selfishness wouldn't matter much now.
Kalie dropped onto the couch feet first, stabilizing to keep her balance. The student's papers went flying, and they sat, too shocked to even think of collecting them. A few other nearby students stood and retreated. Someone screamed. On the floors above, a few camera flashes went off, and several students hung over the balconies, cell phones at the ready.
Kalie had no idea if she showed up in photos or videos. She had always been too afraid of her reflection in someone's screen to find out. It wasn't for the students that Kalie raised her arm and waved goodbye.
And then Kalie Aubert hopped off the couch, strode towards the exit, and stepped outside.
[Avi's Closing Notes]
I'm fairly certain that, like a lot of my original ideas, this one sprang from a dream. In particular, the weird tiered level balcony/lights setup. I think at some point looking at SHAFT architecture bled into my subconscious. I can't remember the exact year I started writing this, but I do remember working on a bunch of projects at once, tracking word counts in my bedroom. And, as mentioned, at the beginning of this year, I decided to go ahead and close the thing out, since it had an ending waiting for it.
Before I get much further, I'd like to thank heartstrings for following this story. I hope you enjoyed the conclusion, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!
Even though I probably shouldn't show them off, what you're looking at is the first draft of the story. There's a jump between my writing skills and approach from when I started to where and how I write now (at least, I like to think I improved. That MA shouldn't just be for show, right?). In that state of mind, when I go to revise this, I'll probably condense the beginning and beef up my overall story arc, but I like to think there's something interesting here I managed to capture, and a little refinement should sort that out. Maybe one day it'll be a nice and polished book I can hold in my hands.
That being said, I'm currently drafting for NaNoWriMo (add me as Aviantei if you like), instead of the revising on this and Twelve Zero Zero I should be doing. But, hey, that's what new years' resolutions are for, yeah? That is to say, in that shameless self promotion way, that I have more stories and ideas to share. The next of those will be a few scattered one shots and writing exercises that appeared over the year. Keep an eye out for those coming to you in the beginning of December.
Of course, if you happened to like my writing at all, you can support it on Patreon, a la PlotBunnyProductions. Any original writing is posted for Patrons three days prior to public release, plus much more organized projects than this one also have outline attachments for the higher tiers. I'm sure you've heard it before, but every little dollar helps, especially for artists. If you even consider providing your support, know that I appreciate it more than words can express.
If that's not your thing, but social media is, there are plenty of options to keep up with what's next from me, too: Twitter ( Plot_K_Bunny), Wordpress (plotbunnyproductions), Instagram (aviplotbunny), deviantArt (Aviantei), tumblr (aviantei-plotbunny), and even fanfiction (Aviantei). May our paths cross again.
Thanks for reading,